It's Thursday. You've had a long day at the office, your back hurts, and you clock out at your desk dreading 9:00am the next morning. You don't really feel like driving home to another lean cuisine over re-runs of Friends, so you search for some food—uncomplex, good, affordable food, in a place that is not at all intimidating and you can get a cheap drink. A place where everybody knows who you are, a place where they're glad to see you. You need to visit Check's Germantown Cafe. A neighborhood staple for many a year, Check's has been in operation since 1944—so they've basically been around for 68 years.
The best thing about the food at Check's is you don't really have to THINK about it, or over analyze it, or muse about it: you just EAT it. You order what sounds fantastic at the moment, maybe a double cheeseburger dripping with meat juice and with cheddar. You order bar food staples like jalapeno poppers with ranch, fries, sweet and sticky barbecue with just a touch too much brown sugar. There are also fried broccoli and cheese bites; which I found useful since I could just record them in my diet journal as “broccoli” and leave out the “deep fried with cheese and dipped in ranch” part.
By the end of the evening there, not only did the bartender and the staff know our names—they yelled goodbye to us across the room and encouraged us to come back. During our meal, the table next to us (very sweet family) struck up a conversation about teenagers and college and how darn good the chili is at Check's. Once or twice a staff member came up to our table to inquire kindly if we needed anything or warn us of a door swinging awry behind us as a dishwasher went in and out. The people were cheerful; it was, if possible, the most family oriented and friendly place I've been in a long time. Check's had a great cheeseburger, atmosphere, cheap prices and unbelievable friendly air. They also have a giant blues festival going on next weekend, and I hear that's going to be ridiculously fun and wacky, so “Check” it out. Believe me, I hate myself for that pun much more than you do right now.
photos: Elizabeth Orrick and Lauren O'Neil